by Elizabeth Griffith The only thing worse than a terrified patient on the telephone is an equally terrified team member on the other end of the call. If your team lacks the skills necessary to convert this caller into a patient; then they may actually dread the calls you spend money to generate. To prevent this double jeopardy, give your team the confidence to discuss the safety, effectiveness, and benefits of sedation dentistry. Theyâ€™ll also need the systems and tools designed to manage a sedation patient from the first phone call through the completion of treatment. As a specialized team trainer with RAMP, I get an inside look at practices around the country that offer hope, and by hope I mean sedation. Success begins with an honest look at what you do well, and where you could improve, right from that first impression. So how do you measure up? Well suppose TV Guide was listing your office in its new fall lineup. Which show would you most resemble? â€œJeopardy.â€ Relies on the patient to ask the right questions in order to obtain critical decision-making information. â€œWheel of Fortune.â€ The patient must spin the wheel to see if they can afford the New Patient Exam fee. When it stops on â€œBankruptâ€ they have to solve the puzzle all over again. â€œFear Factor.â€ The patient can receive the dentistry they need but must first endure terrifying descriptions, words, sounds, and images. â€œWhose Line is it Anyway?â€ When talking to a high-fear patient on the phone, your team members make it up as they go. â€œThe Amazing Race.â€ The distance your patient would have to travel outweighs their perceived value of your dentistry. â€œThe Biggest Loser.â€ When the teamâ€™s not adequately trained, this is a toss-up between the patient and the dentist. Obviously your practice is the ultimate reality show, offering sedation dentistry to individuals who either canâ€™t or wonâ€™t receive care without it. How can you avoid pitfalls and soar to profitability in a practice where everyone wins? The first contact patients have with your office either builds or destroys hope. Fearful patients really want to see if they can trust you to do what your advertising says you can. In order to build that trust, ensure that you connect before you collect. Connect with the patient and their need or situation before you collect identifying information, insurance information or money.
Effective tracking will build successIdentify areas of improvement by tracking the progressionâ€“or lack thereofâ€“of sedation patients from initial call through treatment completion. Effective tracking answers the following questions:
- Does your advertising drive the kinds of new patient calls you want to your office?
- Do patients schedule appointments when they call?
- How many new patients schedule appointments but neglect to keep them?
- If these patients keep the appointment do they accept the treatment?
- If these patients accept treatment are they approved for financing?